Benefits of a Social Media Response Flowchart

“Once you can understand where the conversation is, who leads, the type of voices and the best place for you to add your voice, you can then start becoming a more active participant” – Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image

The main attraction of social media is the instant gratification factor – true for both personal interactions and those with customers. On the business front, if a company is able to provide this instant ‘notice and gratification’ to its customers and clients, the chances of engagement become higher. It makes sense to design a social media response plan in order to communicate and interact with them instantly or at least speedily and sound genuine while doing so. A social media response flowchart is one of the effective ways to maintain an outstanding persona with clients and customers. Rather than picking up the phone or engaging in person, customers now seem more driven and comfortable to interact with brands via social media – fast, easy, and visible. It is therefore critical to success for a brand to know how to engage on and what kind of social media response they should provide their customers.

A social media response flowchart helps social media managing personnel to know exactly how they need to respond to customers, especially based on the kind of comments / content the customers may have ‘posted’. Using this flowchart tool enables the company to maintain a steady flow of communication, remain organized and accountable, and speedily provide a social media response as and when required. The flowchart is a structured and streamlined tool that empowers the staff to act in accordance with the situation and reactions of the customers. The fact is that a flowchart as a tool is extremely visual, flexible, and versatile – can be edited and appended as required.

With an ever increasing number of people responding to and interacting with brands via social media, it would be impossible for brands to act on customer comments speedily without a social media response plan. Of the customers surveyed, at least 58% said that they do follow brands on social media, and 71% added that a good experience with brands via the platforms ensures that not only do they remain loyal but also are very likely to recommend those brands to others. Further, by using a social media response flowchart, brands find that their responses to customer queries and requests are faster and more structured, which encourages their customers to spend about 20% to 40% more with their company. Reasons enough to have a robust social media response plan in place!

Several companies are engaged in the business of helping brands become effective at communicating via social media, and they do so using a social media response flowchart – a response or escalation matrix. As a simple one page guide, a social media response flowchart is easily shareable with the personnel managing social media for the business. It provides clear directions as to when they can take ownership to respond to customers and in which situations must they seek to escalate the issue to a senior person within the business. There are some key learning and instruction points within such a flowchart. The most important instruction for any business is that along with listening and monitoring customer responses, it is extremely critical to respond. Up to a certain level, the front end staff must be empowered to respond immediately. For instance: a positive comment from a customer must never be met with silence – an instant thank you / acknowledgement / appreciation is absolutely essential. This tells the customers that you as a business are present and listening – adds immense mileage to the brand.

All will not always be rosy and happy with customers, and social media response flowchart should also cover crisis management / response matrix for negative or angry comments. It is necessary for the front end staff to know whether their response would suffice or whether they need to escalate the issue to a crisis management expert within the company. An angry customer can potentially have a ripple negative effect, and hence must be managed instantly with expert care. Putting a crisis management flowchart in place to deal with negative comments / angry customers is extremely essential. If you have done a number of things right in the past, it is possible that another happy customer may step in and respond on your behalf – however, do not wait for this to happen but swing into corrective action.

A social media response plan must have timelines clearly mentioned by which your business would know the ideal timeframe within which to respond to customers. Ideally such a plan should work around the clock since social media is always awake, and the flowchart should include response timeline expectations for the front end staff.

The social media response flowchart is a clear and unambiguous tool that can help even newbies to understand the policy the business follows for social media. When each staff member is aware of the policies, complying becomes a lot easier ensuring that customers know that the brand is concerned about taking care of them and sorting out their issues.

An organized social media response flowchart clearly states the rules of interactions, engagement, and cohesion for the entire team. Lack of clarity could lead to a decrease in team productivity, neglect of customer comments, lack of coordination and duplicating of work, and all resulting in sloppy behavior and responses to customers. All the instances of neglecting customers are potentially lost opportunities, which in turn lead to angry customers who would walk away from your brand. One type of social media response flowchart must also lay out the responsibilities of other teams in helping with the speed and quality of the responses to customers. There would be times when the social media team would need data or information from other teams, and unless each team understands their role and turnaround time to provide such information, the whole system could break down.

The front end staff is usually the most basic level and hence it is necessary for them to understand the required protocols in terms of prioritizing interactions, the kind of conversations they should engage in with customers, and when the need to immediately escalate an issue. A social media response flowchart in essence then becomes a graphical and easy to understand the protocol that they are expected to follow. The simple yet effective flowcharting tool does away with cumbersome texts with rules – which usually no one would be bothered to read.

It is important for the front end staff to understand that the social media response flowchart is only a tool to help them analyze and act on situations as and when they occur. This tool is not meant to a crisis plan, but rather acts as a guide for the social media staff to know when they should act and manage the situation, and when the situation requires the involvement of a senior / expert resource to sort out and alleviate the issue. Given that social media is a highly visible platform, no responses and issues from customers can ever be ignored – this applies to both positive and negative comments. Does your business have a social media response protocol in place?

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